► New Mini Clubman is unveiled
► Here autumn 2015, from £19,995
► Keeps barn doors, adds extra side door
The new 2015 Mini Clubman makes its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show this week - and the big news is the Mini estate is keeping the 'barn-door,' van-spec split tailgate and adding an extra side door.
It's very much in keeping with the 2014 Mini Clubman concept, which trailed the new look. The twin-wipered rear doors dominate the styling, with huge, thick chromed handles and this time the vast, over-sized rear lights are integrated into the tailgate, opening with the doors rather than staying on the car body. And if they look heavy, fret not; there's a waggle-foot-under-bumper function that opens them automatically, and you can operate them from the keyfob too.
See the new Mini estate in UK showrooms from autumn 2015. Order books are already open, with prices starting at £19,995 for an entry-level Cooper.
Mini Clubman in detail
Mini is responding to complaints that the asymmetrically-doored predecessor wasn't practical enough. With a solitary rear door on the right-hand side, the first modern Clubman spat out second-row passengers - typically children! - on to the road in right-hand drive Britain, its home market.
Hence the addition of an extra rear door, but now both are conventionally hinged; the suicide-hinged complexity has been binned in the name of cost-saving.
And just look at how much bigger the new Clubman is: it's a huge 270mm longer and 73mm wider than the already-big Mini five-door hatchback, and there's an extra 100mm between the axles. Make no mistake: this is now bordering on a Golf Estate sized competitor - at 4253mm long, it's only slightly shorter.
Mini claims a 360-litre boot capacity, jumping to 1250 litres with the rear seats folded (a process you can do by tugging a lever in the boot). There's also a hidden load area beneath the boot floor for storing valuables.
The engineering specs
No great surprises under the bonnet. This car is based again on the latest BMW/Mini front-wheel drive architecture, with the same engines available as elsewhere in the Mini range:
- Mini Cooper Clubman 1.5 3cyl, 134bhp/162lb ft, 9.1sec 0-62mph, 127mph, 55.4mpg, 118g/km CO2
- Mini Cooper D Clubman 2.0 4cyl, 148bhp/243lb ft, 8.6sec 0-62mph, 132mph, 68.9mpg, 109g/km CO2
- Mini Cooper S Clubman 2.0 4cyl, 189bhp/207lb ft, 7.2sec 0-62mph, 142mph, 45.6mpg, 144g/km CO2
All Clubmans ('Clubmen?') are front-wheel drive at launch, although the chassis is engineered to accept four-wheel drive. Who'd bet against an Allroad-spec soft-roader version in the not-too-distant future?
Elsewhere, a smattering of typical group tech: a head-up display is offered and a double-length sunroof should make the interior bright and airy.
Click here for an A-Z guide to all the big new car releases at Frankfurt 2015.